File No. 600.119/427

Memorandum of the Law Adviser for the Department of State ( Woolsey)

Mr. Woolsey read the following to Lord Percy, but did not give him a copy:

As American export control legislation is still pending in Congress and may be modified prior to enactment into law, all that can be said at the present time in regard to “bunker control” is that if the United States is given legislative authority, it is the present tentative view of the Secretary of State that the most feasible method of exercising [Page 875] bunker control is that set forth in the first British proposal, paragraph (a) of the attached draft memorandum dated May 24, 1917, with the addition at the end of the following proviso:

Provided, That either Government has liberty to propose additions to or removals from the “coal white list,” and in the event of disagreement, reserves the right to export coal to such additional persons (not on the “coal white list”) who subscribe to the “Conditions of Supply of Cargo Coal” agreed upon by the two Governments, or to refuse to export coal to any persons regarded as undesirable,

with the reservations made by the United States Government in paragraphs (c), (e), and (f) of said attached draft memorandum.

The United States, however, does not commit itself to accepting this proposal, or limit its freedom of action in accepting the second proposal or modifications of these proposals.

[Appendix—Draft memorandum]

The British Government has made two proposals regarding cooperation between the British and American Governments in the matter of “bunker control”:

The first proposal is, that the United States take such steps as may be necessary to prevent American coal being used to evade the control at present exercised by the British Government through the supply of British coal, and that this be accomplished by the United States (1) prohibiting neutral ships from bunkering for the round voyage or farther than the next suitable bunkering port, and (2) limiting the supply of American cargo coal to persons on the “coal white list” who have subscribed to the “Conditions of Supply of Cargo Coal,” mentioned above.
The alternative proposal is that the United States Government limit the supply of bunker coal, oil fuel, and ships’ stores to neutral ships, in accordance with the “Revised Bunker Conditions,” a copy of which is attached hereto;1 and limit the supply of cargo coal to persons on the “Regular and Reliable List of Coal Importers in Neutral Countries,” otherwise known as the “coal white list,” which is made up of persons who subscribe to the “Conditions of Supply of Cargo Coal,” a copy of which is enclosed.2
The United States Government is prepared to accept the first alternative provided it is understood that the control, which would thus be exercised by the British Government, does not apply to ships under the American flag.
The United States could only accept the second alternative on the following additional conditions: [Page 876]
That the words “a subject (including a firm or company) of Germany, et cetera” in paragraph (2) of the “Revised Bunker Conditions,” should be interpreted to mean, in the view of the United States Government, “a person (including a firm or company) in Germany, et cetera.”
That the United States Government reserves the right to approve or disapprove independently the consignee mentioned in paragraph (6). The United States Government recognizes, however, the desirability of close cooperation with the British authorities in general in this matter.
That in administering paragraphs (11) and (13) neutral ships should not be forced into the danger zone against the wishes of the shipowners. This stipulation is made not so much in the interest of the owner as of the crew. To this end paragraph (13) should read as follows: “Every firm which requires bunker coal from Allied sources to perform a reasonable amount of service in return. The amount and character of the service to be determined by a committee composed of representatives of the British and United States Governments. Any neutral ships time-chartered under this arrangement to be allocated by the Inter-Allied Chartering Executive, on which the United States is to be represented.”
That paragraph (14) should have added at the end the words: “unless the consignment is specifically approved by the United States Government.”
In accepting either of these alternative proposals, it is to be understood that the United States Government does not thereby waive the contentions which it has heretofore made in regard to the British measures of blockade, rationing, letters of assurance, bunker control, black list, et cetera; and that the United States Government is not to be taken as adhering directly or indirectly or by implication to those measures or the grounds upon which they are founded, but that, on the contrary, the action of the United States is based on its intention, as a domestic measure, to prevent supplies from reaching enemy raiders or submarines, to prevent trading with, for the benefit of, or on behalf of, the enemy, directly or indirectly, to prevent the carriage of contraband of war, to conserve the supplies of the United States for its own use and the use of its allies, and to economize ships’ tonnage for the transportation of military necessities for the United States and its allies.
In appointing representatives on any committee or commission connected with, or passing upon, matters relating to the supply of coal, fuel oil, or ships’ stores, the United States Government does so, simply for the purpose of consultation, and on the understanding that it reserves its freedom of action in any case of dissent from the conclusions arrived at by such bodies.

  1. Printed ante, p. 845.
  2. Printed as Annex 2 to the report of the Joint Subcommittee on Export Licenses; ante, p. 862.